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The Kindly Ones

992 pages

Dr Max Aue is a family man and owner of a lace factory in post-war France. He is an intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music. He is also a former SS intelligence officer and cold-blooded assassin. He was an observer and then a participant in Nazi atrocities on the Eastern Front, he was present at the siege of Stalingrad, at the death camps, and finally caught up in the overthrow of the Nazis and the nightmarish fall of Berlin. His world was peopled by Eichmann, Himmler, Göring, Speer and, of course, Hitler himself.
Max is looking back at his life with cool-eyed precision; he is speaking out now to set the record straight.

It is a great achievement to have made this horrific tale recounted by such a profoundly unsympathetic character so gripping...a great work of literary fiction, to which readers and scholars will turn for decades to come The Times An extraordinarily powerful novel that leads the stunned reader on a journey through some of the darkest recesses of European history...reveals something that is desperate and depressing but profoundly important, now as ever Observer Everybody's talking about it [...] erudite, pitiless and mesmerising Financial Times A compelling and savage tale, with a cold dispassionate eye that never flinches from the raw reality of mass-murder... a serious attempt to describe the terrors of the Nazi regime Independent The book rises magnificently to its own occasions, building out of its fact-crammed but stately sentences a vast and phosphorescent tableaux vivants seething with Dantesque detail Guardian The Kindly Ones is a brilliant book... Aue eloquently asks a familiar question - well, what would you have done in the same situation? Littell's mix of authority and weird reverie stunningly renders the question anew Word Nor is The Kindly Ones only a great work of history and reflection, but full of striking literary writing: consummate adagios of landscape painting; lovely images and observations...even touches of macabre humour...inescapably impressive Literary Review Its account of Nazi cruelty, chaos and callousness has never been surpassed in fiction... unforgettable...magnificent London Review of Books

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The Kindly Ones